Pet Insurance For Birds

Finding Pet Insurance for Birds

pet insurance for birds

If you’ve never had exotic pet insurance before, it’s natural to be concerned about the cost versus benefit equation for insuring your expensive Cockatoo or Parrot.   Whereas you may have previously heard that the exotic range of pet insurance for birds was just another way insurance companies milked our money, I’d challenge that view these days.   Although you may end up paying monthly fees for insurance you may never need, when your family’s very rare or expensive bird becomes ill or injured and you’re on your way to the pet hospital, you’ll be glad you have bird insurance.

A birds hospital bills can be as high as those of humans.   Blood tests can cost around $350, a full body scan to screen for cancer in your bird can cost around $1,000, and corrective eye surgery for some bird species can cost around $5,000.  

If you have a bad run of luck with your bird but live in a country where you are fortunate enough to obtain a quality bird insurance policy, you will be relieved to know that you are covered for a reasonable percentage of those costs.

Though it is difficult to imagine, it is possible for your lovely pet bird to develop a serious illness.  Just looking at Cockatoos reveals that they are prone to pneumonia, bacterial infections, nutritional deficiencies, and fungal diseases.   In addition to kidney disease brought on by blood parasites, they may also develop seriously problematic tumours that will need to be surgically removed, which could cost you thousands of dollars.

Some birds are extremely tough creatures that can hide any signs of illness extremely well.   I’m pretty sure this is a trait they needed for survival in the wild, and I admire them for being so tough.   However, this trait makes it heartbreaking for us if it ends up being too late for treatment and you realise they’re not doing so well.   Bird owners must be ‘on the ball’ when it comes to their pets’ health; you must learn all of the little signs that might indicate your feathered friend is ill and get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Especially now, when pets, like everything else, are becoming more expensive, the last thing we want is to be hit with thousands of dollars in pet hospital bills all at once.   If pet insurance for your bird is not for you, the only other option that comes to mind is to find out how much the most expensive premiums for bird insurance are and then put that money aside in a separate bank account each month. 

If you did this for the entire life of your bird and didn’t touch it, you’d end up saving a lot of money for a rainy day.   This could even be enough to plan taking your partner on a cruise after your bird has died.

But, in my opinion, getting pet insurance for a bird is the best option. Of course, not everything will be covered because nothing in this world is ever perfect, so we must read the policy document carefully and, if necessary, use a magnifying glass to read the fine print.   Obviously, do not commit to anything unless you are completely satisfied with it; if you are not satisfied; see if you can negotiate with them.  

I’d rather risk slightly embarrassing myself over the phone to a complete stranger and try to haggle for a better deal than never try and always wonder if I could have done better.   Sure, there’s a good chance you’ll fail, but what have we got to lose?In summary, it is extremely difficult to put a monetary value on happiness and peace of mind for a much-loved pet, but I believe that a good pet insurance policy is one of our best ways to avoid unnecessary grief. 

What does a good bird insurance policy look like?

pet bird in hospital

The amount of coverage you receive from a pet bird insurance policy in your country will be determined by a few factors, which will determine what is covered and how much you will pay.

I’m sure there are numerous considerations that would be used to work this all out.    I suppose the main thing pet insurance companies are thinking about is how to mitigate the risks of an unusually expensive to treat pet versus providing a policy at a price that people would be interested in.   It would be very interesting to learn about all of the different factors they must consider.  They’d have to make a pretty good guess as to how likely claims for specific bird species would be made.  

The age of your bird at the time of the enquiry is most likely used, as is the cost of your bird; they may use market value or the amount you actually paid.    I’d guess that the standard vet and pet hospital costs for likely treatments for your pet bird species would also be considered.   Some species are more prone to illness or disease, as well as other costly health issues, so all of this would be considered.   After all of the likelihood versus consequence and cost numbers are tossed around, I’d guess they’d also add a 10-15% contingency to any number they arrive at.

Below are some dot points that might help work out if go down the path of insuring your pet bird.

·         Veterinary fees for your bird’s injury, accident, or illness should cover over $5,000.  

·         Alternative treatment for your bird should be permitted for costs up to $500.

·         Third-party liability insurance in the amount of $1 million should be provided.   Third-party insurance is a major consideration in my mind.  This section of the policy protects pet owners from any injury your pet may cause to another person, another pet, or even property.   I would strongly advise you to read any fine print in this area.

·         If you have two or more birds to ensure, you should be able to get a discount.  

·         I believe it would be unjust if the fixed excess for birds was much higher than $180.

·         If your bird is referred to a pet hospital or a specialist veterinarian, the fixed excess should not change significantly.   You should expect to pay up to 35% of vet bills but not higher than that.  

·         Pet Bird Insurance policies should cover ages ranging from 10 to 12 weeks to more than 20 years.

Other questions you may have regarding pet birds or bird insurance.

other bird related question you might have

Why is pet bird insurance so rare?

I believe this is because there are far fewer expensive pet birds in people’s homes than there are expensive pet dogs, cats, or guinea pigs.   The only other reason I can think of is that pet insurance policies are still behind the times.  I won’t name names, but one pet insurer I just checked out has been in business in Australia for 30 years and still only covers dogs and cats.  

How long should I take my Bird out of the cage?

The most general rule I’m aware of is that we should let our birds out of their cages for 2 or 3 hours per day.   2 hours for small birds and 3 hours for larger birds, especially social and active birds.   A variety of bird species can benefit substantially from a few hours outside of the cage stretching their wings and getting some exercise.   Cockatoos can be difficult at times because 3 hours is plenty of time for them to wreak havoc.  As a minimum, put away all food and anything else you do not want them to chew on.

Do birds become depressed from being in a cage?

Yep, they sure do; some birds, in particular, can really express to us how bored and otherwise upset they are after being locked up in the cage for an extended period of time.   Keep an eye out for any aggressive, unusual, or self-harming behaviour from them.   Having a daily time and duration for them to fly around the inside of your home is a commitment we should make a concerted effort to keep.

Why is Bird & Reptile insurance bundled under the title of exotic pet insurance?

I’m not sure about this one, and I’ve often wondered why they can’t just list all options separately.   Perhaps pet insurers are simply trying to save money on keyboard typing or have yet to value parrots, macaws, cockatoos, turtles, snakes, lizards, and small mammals as much as cats and dogs.

What is the waiting period for Bird Insurance?

3-4 weeks is a fairly standard waiting time when commencing a new pet insurance policy.

Are accidents covered with new Bird Insurance Policies within the initial waiting period?

No, not to my knowledge, but double check with your insurer; waiting periods are typically associated with injury, accident, or illness.

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